Cool Pool

You know that feeling.

Like when you sense something move in the cool stagnant water

underneath the surface,

where it shouldn’t,

it is.

Like being away,

the opposite of home,

and even as you jerk your leg away 

you can feel it cramp,

ripping hot.

You can feel the vessels crimp;

doubled,

twisted,

restricting you,

keeping you just within reach,

within reach of the cool,

the cool of the bottom of the pool

where the water doesn’t move

or isn’t supposed to.

from terra galleria

foggy memories

the oaks

wrinkles,

white walls

metallic beige

flying roaring

,cutting,

white walls;

warm animals 

in half motion

motioning

in motion.

you latch on

to these moments, these images,

as they race in your head,

as they take tight turns,

as a force like gravity pulls and pulls you away.

you find yourself empty save the quiet conversations and the warm silence. the moments that make you you. but how ‘bout I move them? 

how ‘bout i reorganize the pantry,

pull the back towards the front,

pour it all out?

how ‘bout when you feel those candlewarm memories

in your stainless vaccum

you feel them.

you feel the road, the car

the pull,

you feel the moment, the memory

fading

into the fog.

from pintrest

Reams Full Of Dreams

It really just begins as a question:

Who do you want to be?

There’s no answer yet,

just confusing clues,

and time.

At some point the rough outline, the shadow, the future is visible: 

now just a gossamer dream, 

but focusing with time, condensing…

I pour myself into the process.

I’m buying what they’re selling,

buying a future,

buying a me.

They’re selling dreams, outlines, frames for faces,

65 bucks a pop!

Expensive. But this boardwalk is a long one.

I pick places.

Leaves?

Seasons?

Words etched in stone?

Wood?

Steel?

All the while working, working.

Pressure to be better,

be happy,

be me,

pressure to do more,

to be more,

and all the while working. Guilty

because I know I could work harder,

and be happier.

Do more.

I could cover more ground,

jump through more gilded hoops,

be better,

do more,

be me-er.

Ideas stuck on frail words

clamouring to speak out

above the clamor.

Distilling self

into neat columns,

busy with intricacy.

From a fermenting mess:

fine spirit.

Then I wait,

as a man in Massachusetts thumbs through reams of dreams.

from istock.com

From the Ocean Looking Up

in those rich minutes the light was heavy warm gold 

viscous with the weight of the looming sky

her wet skin reflected the light as if it were oil 

floating in the sodium and the waves

rocking back and forth

I fought the incessant ocean

that colossal blue 

as it pulled the warmth from my heavy limbs 

I was suspended 4 inches from the glassy surface

blowing fat bubbles that distorted your reflection

from pinterest

On The Line

When I knocked on the kitchen door, I carried only clammy hands, a thin resume, and a fascination with a world that I had begged to be let into. Cory, my soon to be Chef, gave me the once over, pointed to a cashier, and continued violently tearing apart poultry.

A week later when I came to interview, he saw in me something from his teenage years. At least that’s what he told me as I signed the workman’s comp forms in the hospital after I rammed my thumb into the mean side of a mandoline.

I started small and assumed I would slowly be introduced to the kitchen, but Cory had other plans and a short staff, so one night I was thrown an apron and instantly I became a fixture of the frier. I played tetris with time, organizing chicken wings and okonomiyaki style tater-tots. 

What they don’t tell you is that short order cooks are prep cooks, janitors, singers, and comedians. 

When we ate cold food on milk crates, the cooks told stories of long nights in food service, they told me about forearm sized scars, crazy chefs, and what homelessness taught them. The dishy had a stutter and sometimes he needed a ride home, José wanted to teach art, Steven was overqualified, and I was hungrily learning everything I could.

Working on the line roaring with heavy metal and a hot range taught me that kitchens aren’t about food, they are about people. They are about stories.

Fire

I

The leaves rustle gently at first,

barely moving in the otherwise stagnant air.

But the wind comes, and will come again. 

Every year.

II

It’s eerily warm when

the hearty Santa Ana winds,

the december gusts, come 

to breathe full of life

limbs of dry straw.

Shrubbery sings with that transient weight;

shrubbery that won’t be here tomorrow.

III

Before the door could be closed

a delicate leaf let itself in.

Frail, yellow, brittle.

Winter boots shatter it; 

the shards driven into

the green carpet.

IV

Autumn came when no one was looking, quiet and still, 

but Winter knocked on the door.

Warm winds; loose leaves;

oak and sycamore;

helpless faces;

unpacked clothes strewn, full of life,

on the floor.

V

Fires often blow through on winds like these,

—the threat, toothsome and tangible—

but even as the wind whips

and the sparse clouds hurry across the sky,

cruel circumstance sits suspended in hot heavy air.

VI

Heavy walls went like cardboard 

big weight bearing beams became matchsticks

that snap between fat flaming fingers

recollection ripped out of picture frames

folders full of ash

crumpled filing cabinets

and melted metal memories 

a world engulfed

in wind

in the night

in warm welling eyes

in the sweltering night.

VII

Gnawing on the bones

baying at the hunt

howling in the wind

a hound of three heads sicced 

uncontrollable 

delighting in the chaos 

in pandemonium’s wild embrace.

VIII

silence settled,

the land rested.

no fireman’s boots,

no tennis shoes,

no cars,

no buildings,

no birds.

Just cold black earth,

warm embers,

warm breeze.

IX

Green growth sparsely populates the scorched earth.

Grasses, gaining ground.

But deep in the center the blackness still sits.

Telling you things are not as they once were,

Succession is a process, aching and raw;

but nothing could be so delicate and pure

as the inkling of new life

among black expanse.

X

These winds will whip 

hearts to attention

for years to come.

From: KPCC

A year like no other—2020 in review

in shuttering silence

happiness is fleeting

buoyancy is turbulent 

and the grey world deteriorates

breath is belabored

and the periphery begins to seep in

the color is fading fast 

fast

faster still than hot flames

the fury and the fire in the center

burns has burned and will burn

hot

hotter than before

but still it burns through its fuel

and the sides still fall away than the center can build back

better to be honest 

better to be free

better to seek the middle even as the edges fray

better to worry about the now than lose hope in the future

as the color fades into gray

Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

A Cold Ocean’s Call

it was bitter and cold 

in the great green pacific.

and the warmth crawled out from my bones

as the words in my head slowed their swirling.

instead of going with them,

there I would sit 

socks in the sand

I kept high and dry

Always away from that wet;

I hadn’t yet felt it’s unavoidable pull

that siren’s song.

I hadn’t let the cold seep in,

I hadn’t plunged into the ocean,

But I would.

The ocean begs for our attention

it begs for big words

and soft sounds

a deft touch 

and a guiding glance

to make sure

that we

who sit in stony silence 

will be kept in time

by the rising and falling of 

the great green pacific

From: Surf Simply

suffocation

grey muffled voices–

shuttered dusty white shades that don’t rotate

that don’t move,

that bend and shake as you pull the little white cord.

Never more than the briefest glimpse of light peeks through.

it’s oppressive in that warm room

the floor creeps toward the ceiling 

the walls pour in from the sides

the carpet pulls the fight from the soles of your feet

the white walls.

the relentless clock.

the viscous air.

and your feet cemented to the floor,

body still,

heart racing.

and the voices,

the walls,

the shades.

your feet that won’t move,

your labored breathing,

the creeping white walls,

and the encroaching ceiling.

from Saatchi Art

Chaos’ Defeat

For many infinities Chaos had held the burden of perfection,

and Time had sat silent and watched.

The immense weight of nothingness pressed down upon Chaos

Like cold black rocks piled one by one;

each stone pressed upon his empty chest

and he lay tense, unmoving, bracing against the pain.

The cool dull pain.

Chaos’ eyes were tightly shut

to keep the darkness from getting out.

He was honorable, 

quiet, 

still, 

and focused on the weight of that expansive void.

Alone he was,

save his cruel companion,

fighting an endless battle against light and the evil it illuminates.

Time turned his grey gnarled hand over.

Chaos turned his head to look,

and within him something buckled.

And the beautiful darkness was covered in blinding light.

And now there were things in places.

Time bowed his head.

And Chaos sank back in defeat.

And the clamoring symphony began.

from wikimedia commons